Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Anything about Power (watts)

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Gavinflo
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:13 am

Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Gavinflo » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:29 am

Have being using the Vortex Smart for 6 months, no issues, performing very well (over 75 hrs on the trainer)
Updating firmware as it comes out, everything fine (calibrating every ride with tacx app)
Using zwift, FTP has risen steadily from about 260 to 290 W, my max sprint about 850Watts.

I updated latest firmware on sunday and have had 2 one-hour rides since then, both have felt like the watts are greatly reduced.
I have struggled to push above 260W average on these 2 rides (similar HR had me about 280/290 average), more significantly repeated attempts at short sprints and I struggle to get the watts above 600 ??
I have re-booted trainer, numerous recalibrations, different bike on trainer, etc - no difference.
I appreciate for the average runs I maybe fatigued (actually feel very good) and this could play part, but the fact I cannot raise the trainer above 600W for a sprint is not fatigue.

I know none of this is overly scientific, only way to really check is against powermeter (which I don't have).
it might be that this latest firmware has addressed a wattage accuracy issue ?? and this is me at my true watts.
But it doesn't seem right, especially when I am sprinting at 100rpm, 53 x 11 gear and only pushing 600 Watts

Any help or ideas greatly apprciated

Bouw
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:00 pm

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Bouw » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:12 pm

I'm experiencing the same issues. There's something definitely wrong after the update and it's spoiling my rides.
After the update my VO2 max dropped from 59 to 56 in just a week based on my swift-rides (calculated by Garmin Connect).
I calibrated numerous times, changed tires, reconnected etc etc.
Never had any issues before.

Gavinflo
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:13 am

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Gavinflo » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:44 am

Thanks for confirmation.
I have done a few more rides and Wattage down about 10% from previous 3 months

Contacted Tacx over weekend and they requested I send them a screenshot from Tacx Dashboard App when sitting at 30Km/Hr
I did this and they said my Watts should be about 130W @30km/hr (they are at 115W), this ties in with my estimate of being 10% down.
They asked me to contact supplier to arrange test ?! (bought over internet from CRC - so not an easy task).
I asked for previous versions of firmware and if they had specifically changed wattage/resistance profile on recent firmware - no response !

As you say - spoiling my rides slightly also.

Will double-check with a borrowed power meter this week, but believe will show same as Tacx and my own gut feel

Gavinflo
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:13 am

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Gavinflo » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:29 pm

Tacx have replied that they cannot provide older version of firmware.
So I will test against powermeter to check discrepancy and if big enough (ie 10%), I will send back to supplier.
The stated accuracy for the trainer is 5%, I have always known this to be the case, so would be hard to justify warranty and probably not worth the hassle if discrepancy is not getting closer to the 10% mark.

Maybe it isn't the firmware and it is just a coincidence that reduced wattage occurred at same time as firmware update and it is
due to a hardware issue with trainer.

Any ideas on best way to test ? my idea was as follows.
15 min warm up, 2mins @150W, 2 mins @200W, 2 mins@250W, 2 mins@300W
5mins @150W, 1 min @400W, then try a few 10 sec max sprints.

As Tacx has suggested returning unit to supplier for testing, would be interested to know how supplier (Chain reaction) intends to test

Bouw
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:00 pm

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Bouw » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:32 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience.
Tacx asked me to do the same test.
The result: 107 watt at 30,1 km/h

There's definitely something wrong with this firmware version, never had any issues before.
I did a 40k testride outside today and rode a pr so to me it's obvious, no way that my VO2 max is so much lower in just a couple of days based on the wattage of my Vortex smart..
By the way: since the last update my wheel keeps slipping even when I'm pushing my pedals with limited power.I need to ride smooth without changing power or riding hills otherwise the wheel will start slipping at first when I push the pedals a little harder.
And yes I'm using the special tacx training tyre which is only 4 months old (as is the trainer). Never had that issue before and seems related to the wattage problem.

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Alex Masalovich
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Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Alex Masalovich » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:11 pm

Please tell other users the version number of the firmware so that they are careful with this update.
Тренируйтесь много, отдыхайте ещё больше!

Bouw
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Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Bouw » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:04 pm

Firmware version: 3.1.20/0.2.7

Bouw
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Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Bouw » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:06 am

After sending my testresults to tacx they replied:
"Thank you.
We can see that something is wrong with the unit.
Vortex has to be on 130 watt with this test.
We have to ask you to contact the dealer from where you've purchased the unit to get this tested and repaired."

I'm still not convinced it's the trainer (hardware) itself. It seems they are in some kind of state of denial that this could possibly be caused by a software problem

Gavinflo
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:13 am

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Gavinflo » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:59 am

My firmware is 3.1.22/0.4.1.
I did jump a few firmwares in the one go, as I hadn't updated for a while.
So issue could be actually wrapped up in a previous firmware

Gavinflo
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:13 am

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Gavinflo » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:42 am

Bouw interesting what you say about slipping, I have definitely felt it slipping a lack of resistance when I get out of saddle on an incline (struggle to get power down).

However, I borrowed a stages power meter last night and did a quick comparison check (20 mins) going up and down from 100 to 500 Watts.
The vortex versus stages looks pretty good on this quick check (10 watts max out sitting at 300W), will do longer tests this week.

It could be that this firmware has made the vortex more accurate (this has resulted in a reduction from previous vortex W reading).
I have read instances where people have went from Vortex to a more expensive (accurate) trainer and noticed a 20 to 30W reduction in power and put it down to the better accuracy.

For myself this could explain the reduction in Watts (might also be a bit of fatigue in myself as well - although real-life rides
suggest I am at same level as 3 weeks ago).

if further comparison tests prove right, I will just need to reset my FTP down about 20 to 30 W and get back on improving it.
I still think the trainer doesn't feel great - slipping/sticky at times (I feel the firmware has changed the power curve/brake significantly).
Would be good if Tacx could at least confirm this.

mabrenes
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Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:14 pm

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by mabrenes » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:26 pm

Gavinflo, before the update had you borrowed the PM before to test accuracy? With this latest update, after a good warm up the calibration showed the tension was way to tight. before the update it was right in the middle green. Now I had to dial it down quite a bit in order to get it back to center. Yeah took a few tweaks to get back to middle green did a ride on Zwift and did not get any slippage but do have to stay more in the big ring to get higher power numbers. I'll try the dashboard test to see what results I get. Maybe you can test some sprints with the PM and compare. Before the update I could hit between 700 to 750 watts for a few seconds. Now that the tension is looser, I would think it would be easier to hit higher power numbers, but the accuracy is what I'm most interested, because based on your testing its as it should be.

Gavinflo
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:13 am

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Gavinflo » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:01 pm

No - I had never even used or tested against power meter before.
The vortex has been my first use of power numbers, so took them as gospel (realising that their was a probable 5-10% accuracy to a PM).

I did notice after firmware update, calibration was to the very right and had to dial it back a fair bit to get it in middle (to the point I felt that it was slipping a bit). However, I did play around with the calibration in various parts of the green band, still struggled to get more than 600W out of trainer (this was before power meter) and don't feel it made much of a difference to the Watts.
The test with power meter last night would back this up.

Next tests will be full-on sprints and see what I can get max and how it compares between the 2 devices ( last night I had a few 500W efforts and it was accurate between the 2).
I will also try and dial-in the calibration to get the best feel I can on the trainer re- slipping and out-of-saddle resistance (as I feel this has really deteriorated)

mabrenes
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Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:14 pm

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by mabrenes » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:27 pm

Sounds good real interested in the results

Bouw
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Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:00 pm

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Bouw » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:36 pm

My trainer is on its way to tacx, so they can investigate the problem.
I will post the results here when I get them.

Gavinflo
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:13 am

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Gavinflo » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:42 pm

They have definitely changed the firmware to reduce the wattage and changed the calibration set-up (resulting in the wheel slippage).
Looking on one of the zwift facebook page for the Bolt Race Team, about 3 of the guys their have experienced exact same in the last week.
A few of them have compared to powermeter and reporting new vortex readings as accurate (their vortex readings down about 8 to 10% from previous weeks). They are getting round wheel slippage by calibrating to right-hand side of green band.

So I am going on basis its accurate and not returning - for now, and will just need to find another 25Watts from somewhere (where's Lance A phone number !!)

Will be interested to hear what Tacx say when you return it

mabrenes
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:14 pm

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by mabrenes » Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:08 pm

Back home after two weeks. So after a quick 10 mile race with teamODZ, I re-calibrated the trainer to be just a bit off-center green. Used the testing dashboard and confirm that around 30Kmh my wattage is around 114 115 watts as well. I also perform a few sprints on swift. Before the firmware update, I could only hit around 745 watts max sprint and my cadence would reach around 90 rpm. Today max watts was 876 at around 104 - 108 rpm. Unfortunate for me it would be a real hassle to contact tacx and having to send the trainer back since I purchased it online from Europe. I'll stick to what I have a be happy with it. Hoping someone can confirm the max watts numbers (hint hint Gavinflo) with a power meter. If they come close then we can say that the trainer is working properly.

Gavinflo
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:13 am

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by Gavinflo » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:06 pm

Mabrenes - see my post above, I believe the new firmware has made the vortex more accurate (as do others who I have seen post on other forums)
Doing a 250Watt 30 min run, the powermeter and vortex trainer were within a few watts.
I just need to get my head round losing 10% watts :(

I don't like the feel of the trainer with the new firmware (maybe its just in my head), so will stick with it.
Maybe thinking of upgrading to a direct drive trainer in the winter.

mabrenes
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:14 pm

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by mabrenes » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:35 pm

Thanks gavinflo I know it does feel different but on the positive my sprint watts went up as I mentioned in my post. And if your PM reading are within a few watts then I won't be complaining to much. Another positive is my cadence has gone up as well so I guess we are good. Happy Riding!

goady
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:28 pm

Re: Vortex Smart latest firmware and reduced Watts

Post by goady » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:43 pm

I have only just updated the firmware on my Vortex and have experienced the same problems: lower power and poor calibration. When calibration is set to mid green the wheel slips extremely easily. I just did a long Zwifting session and had to tighten up the roller halfway through the ride as I just wasn't getting any power to the trainer on climbs.
I haven't contacted Tacx yet but it seems their only response is to get us to send them back for testing. Seems ridiculous as all the trainers were working OK before the update!
I'm OK with the wattage being reduced as I always thought mine was reading too high: comparing IRL rides on Strava with people I have Zwifted with demonstrates that. I may be able to beat them on Zwift but on a real road they would leave me for dead!
I am hoping that Tacx will release a new firmware update to address these problems rather than getting us to send Vortexes all over the world for fruitless examination!

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